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David Ignatius: Growing pressure on Obama to escalate war in Iraq, Syria

WASHINGTON — As fighters from the Islamic State surge toward control of Anbar Province in western Iraq and the border town of Kobane in Syria, U.S. commanders and diplomats are signaling that the U.S. must expand its military operations before the extremists control even more territory.

October 14, 2014 2:32 pmLoading…

David Ignatius: The advantage of America's reluctant warrior

WASHINGTON — President Obama certainly didn't go looking for another war in the Middle East. Indeed, he contorted himself almost to the breaking point to avoid one. But as he explained to the country Wednesday night, he had no choice but to respond with "strength and resolve" to the barbarou…

September 12, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Obama stepping warily onto the battlefield

WASHINGTON — For President Obama, this is gut-check time on Iraq. He is moving the nation back onto a pitiless battlefield, with a war plan that is long on good intentions and short on clarity about the ultimate mission.

September 09, 2014 1:03 pmLoading…

David Ignatius: Mulling a Ukraine policy in Colorado conference

ASPEN, Colo. — At the public kickoff of a discussion here about U.S. policy toward Russia and Ukraine, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates joked that his favorite definition of diplomacy was “petting a dog and saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

August 20, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Time for Netanyahu to make peace

WASHINGTON — Now it’s Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s turn to show that he has the vision and leadership to build a durable cease-fire that could empower Palestinian moderates and begin building a pathway from the hell on earth that is Gaza.

August 05, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Kerry blunders in pushing too quickly for Mideast ceasefire

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry has made a significant mistake in how he's pursuing a Gaza cease-fire — and it's not surprising that he has upset both the Israelis and some moderate Palestinians.

July 30, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: In troubled world, some optimism on Iran, Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The world has been so chaotic lately that it was easy to overlook two U.S. diplomatic maneuvers — involving the turbulent nations of Afghanistan and Iran — that avoided what could have been dangerous ruptures.

July 29, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Obama's cautious policy on global challenges

WASHINGTON — In President Obama's sometimes maddeningly cautious foreign policy, you can see him struggling to answer what may be the hardest question of his presidency: How should the United States project power in a disorderly world without making the same mistakes it did in Iraq and Afghanistan?

July 11, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Charismatic ISIS terrorist operates like mobster

WASHINGTON — A glimpse of the passionate loyalty inspired by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the insurgent group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, comes in a recent video made by a 20-year-old Muslim recruit from the British city of Cardiff, Wales.

June 26, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Obama must act now to start stabilizing Iraq

WASHINGTON — What would an effective, quick response to the catastrophic civil wars in Iraq and Syria look like? Sometimes in foreign policy, as in sports, it can be useful to visualize the right technique and then hit the ball.

June 20, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: History argues for crisis conference in shattering Middle East

WASHINGTON — Let’s look at the reality on the ground in the Middle East: Iraq and Syria are effectively partitioned along sectarian lines; Lebanon and Yemen are close to fracturing; Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia survive intact, but as increasingly authoritarian states.

June 19, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Our cycles of national worry about military power

WASHINGTON — When CBS News brought Dwight Eisenhower back to Normandy for the 20th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1964, you might have expected the former commander of Allied forces to conclude with a triumphal comment. Instead, CBS captured an anguished Eisenhower against the backdrop…

June 06, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Neutral solution: A Finland model for Ukraine?

WASHINGTON — After months of war fever over Ukraine, perhaps the biggest surprise is that citizens there will be voting to choose a new government in elections that observers predict will be free and fair in most areas.

May 22, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Nightmare terrorist group grows in Syria

WASHINGTON — The chamber of horrors of the Syrian civil war has spawned a terrorist group so extreme that it has been rejected even by al-Qaida — and this toxic group is now establishing a safe haven in the city of Raqqah in northern Syria that could soon be used to attack foreign targets.

May 15, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Gangs take over in Iraq's never-ending war

AMMAN, Jordan — Iraq appears to be slipping back into civil war, and Sheik Zaydan Aljabiri, one of the political leaders of the Sunni insurgent group known as the Tribal Revolutionaries, seems confident that his side is winning.

April 29, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Ukraine poses existential crisis for Obama, too

WASHINGTON — As President Obama looks at the Ukraine crisis, he sees an asymmetry of interests: Simply put, the future of Ukraine means more to Vladimir Putin’s Russia than it does to the U.S. or Europe. For Putin, this is an existential crisis; for the West, so far, it isn’t, as the limited…

April 16, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Warning signs in China's economy

WASHINGTON — China's financial markets seem to be signaling trouble, as a government crackdown on corruption and loose credit begins to bite and jittery local investors scramble for safety.

April 13, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Fighting anew for democracy against pugnacious Putin

BRUSSELS — President Obama has spoken once again during the Ukraine crisis about being on the right "side of history." It's one of his signature lines, but he should stop: The phrase implies there's an inevitability to the advance of progress and justice. Would that it were so.

March 28, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: In Syria, a moderate rebel with a just cause

WASHINGTON — With the Ukraine crisis, any fleeting hope that the U.S. and Russia could soon broker a political settlement in Syria has vanished. The U.S. needs an alternate strategy for strengthening Syrian moderates who can resist both the brutal Bashar al-Assad regime and al-Qaida extremists.

March 13, 2014 2:33 pmLoading…

David Ignatius: Russian revanchism: Putin's catastrophic error in Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Napoleon is said to have cautioned during an 1805 battle: "When the enemy is making a false movement, we must take good care not to interrupt him." The citation is also sometimes rendered as "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." Whatever the precise wording, …

March 04, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Xi consolidates China's center of power

SHANGHAI — What Xi Jinping has accomplished over the past year doesn't look like an old-fashioned Communist Party putsch. There aren't red banners in the streets or blaring loudspeakers. But Chinese and Western analysts agree that Xi has achieved a remarkable consolidation of power.

March 03, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Spymasters' conclave on Syria

WASHINGTON — Western and Arab intelligence services that support Syria’s struggling opposition gathered for a two-day strategy meeting in Washington last week that appears to signal a stronger effort to back the rebels.

February 19, 2014 7:03 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Dispair, distrust clouds view from Halhul

HALHUL, West Bank — Hoping to understand the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in human terms, I made a visit last week to a Palestinian farmer named Hammadeh Kashkeesh, whom I first met 32 years ago. The encounter reminded me of the pain that's at the heart of this dispute, and how h…

February 03, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: America: The newest emerging market?

WASHINGTON — A funny thing happened on the way to the decline of the United States and the rise of China, Brazil and other emerging markets: Many prominent analysts began wondering if the pessimistic predictions about America were wrong — and whether it was the emerging markets that were hea…

January 23, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Iran wants a deal and its nukes, too

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that despite hitting a “snag” in nuclear negotiations last week, Iran is committed “100 percent” to reaching a comprehensive final agreement. But he voiced tough positions on key issues and said “it’s going to be a bumpy road,” with…

December 18, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Obama's relentlessly pragmatic diplomacy

ABU DHABI — This has been a year when America re-embraced diplomacy after a frustrating decade of war, displaying a relentlessly pragmatic approach that recalls the days of such deal-making former secretaries of state as Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III.

December 12, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Next steps in Iranian nuke deal will be harder than first

WASHINGTON — Now that the Obama administration has won its breakthrough first-step nuclear deal with Iran, officials are planning strategy for the decisive second round that over the next six months will seek a broader and tougher comprehensive agreement.

December 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Secret diplomacy that worked in Iran deal

WASHINGTON — Count the Iran nuclear deal as a rare win for President Obama’s secretive, cerebral style of governing. His careful, closeted approach has produced many setbacks over the past five years, but it was at the heart of last weekend’s breakthrough deal with Tehran.

November 26, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: In Egypt, hope and despair after Morsi

MENOUFIA, Egypt — A year ago, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders in this region of the Nile Delta seemed confident that they owned the future. But then came the military coup on June 30 that toppled President Mohammed Morsi and killed hundreds of his supporters.

November 14, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Obama's diplomatic opportunity in Persian Gulf

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is approaching one of those moments when a big turn in foreign policy is possible. People can debate whether it's the equivalent of the opening to China or the end of the Cold War, but there's no doubt that this is a time of opportunity — and that, as the …

October 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Ignatius: Boehner a likable man who is utterly ineffective

WASHINGTON — In the line of succession, House Speaker John Boehner is the third ranking official in the country. For practical purposes, he has all but disappeared as a leader. That failure is pushing the country toward the financial brink.

September 29, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Ignatius: Disturbing new account of Syrian chemicals on the move

WASHINGTON — A high-level defector has provided a disturbing new account of Syrian chemical weapons operations — including an allegation that some of these weapons have been moved since Russia proposed an international monitoring scheme to destroy the toxic munitions.

September 24, 2013 11:30 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Presidential puzzler: Pundits count even Obama successes as failures

WASHINGTON — How did it happen that less than a year after Barack Obama convincingly won re-election, his every move as president now draws hoots and catcalls from nearly every point on the political spectrum?

September 17, 2013 4:02 pmLoading…

David Ignatius: On Syria, the plot thickened around U.S. threat

WASHINGTON — When the ancient Greek or Roman playwrights had painted themselves into a corner, plot-wise, they sometimes resorted to the device known as the deus ex machina, in which one of the gods was hoisted over the stage and dropped in to resolve the otherwise inchoate drama.

September 11, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Worldwide surveillance: Less privacy outside U.S.

WASHINGTON — With the global furor over the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, you might think that other governments are refraining from such intrusive monitoring. But recent reports by U.S. technology companies make clear that foreign governments are aggressively compellin…

September 05, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Will Syria shatter into pieces?

WASHINGTON — The world still talks about Syria as if it’s a single country, but some members of the Syrian opposition are beginning to discuss the reality that Syria today is effectively partitioned — complicating any negotiated solution to the conflict.

August 21, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: The Grahams' final gift to American journalism

WASHINGTON — It’s easy to talk about how change is good, but when it actually happens it’s a shock. It felt that way for hundreds of Washington Post employees on Monday when we heard our boss, Donald Graham, tell us that he was selling the newspaper.

August 08, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Kerry's big-bang diplomacy

WASHINGTON — How can Secretary of State John Kerry succeed in the “Mission Impossible” of negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement when he faces the same intractable issues that have derailed so many previous peacemaking efforts?

August 02, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Mideast diplomacy: Kerry's Captain Ahab quest

WASHINGTON — Two qualities rarely associated with modern secretaries of state are patience and keeping your mouth shut in public. But in his first six months, John Kerry has demonstrated both — and his stubborn silence appears to have brought him to the door of renewed Israeli-Palestinian pe…

July 25, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Conditions for a do-over in Egypt

WASHINGTON — The White House rationalized last week’s military coup in Egypt as providing the opportunity for a “do-over,” and that’s a comforting idea in more ways than one. But political life doesn’t come with an eraser to neatly remove mistakes and start over — especially in the explosiv…

July 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Ignatius: Obama delays action while Syria slips away

WASHINGTON — Centuries of theatergoers have puzzled over the riddle of why it took Shakespeare’s Hamlet so long to act, once he had set his mind to it. The Arab world has the same question about President Barack Obama’s delay in implementing his policies in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

July 08, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Ignatius: People power rises again in Egypt

WASHINGTON — “Authoritarianism in the name of Islam is dead,” one Egyptian activist messaged last Sunday, as millions gathered in the streets to denounce the rule of President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government.

July 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: What privacy? Practical fallout of Snowden's leaks

WASHINGTON — Congress and the courts will sort out the big questions about privacy and surveillance posed by Edward Snowden’s disclosure of National Security Agency monitoring programs. In the meantime, there are some nagging smaller questions raised by this hemorrhage of secrets.

June 27, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Gazette opinion: Obama playing for time in Syria

WASHINGTON — Critics are correct when they argue that President Barack Obama doesn’t have a strategy for military victory in Syria. The reality is that despite his decision to arm the opposition there, Obama is still playing for a negotiated diplomatic transition.

June 24, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Jounalists should beware of misplaced idealism

WASHINGTON — Journalists have a professional commitment to the idea that more debate is better, so we instinctively side with leakers. But I’m skeptical about some of the claims of Edward Snowden, the young NSA contractor who leaked secrets about that agency’s surveillance programs to The Wa…

June 13, 2013 12:05 amLoading…

David Ignatius: U.S.-China summit worthy of the name

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials describe a common frustration in dealing with China over the past decade. Beijing wants to be recognized as a rising economic power but refuses to be an active partner in maintaining security. Beijing has seemed to want a free ride, without the corresponding respo…

June 05, 2013 12:05 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Summer brings opportunity for Kerry’s Mideast mission

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry’s cardinal rule in trying to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has been that he won’t talk publicly about the details, so it’s difficult to know how he’s doing. But he’s still hard at it, and he seems to be employing some modest variatio…

May 30, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Syrians fight for advantage before Geneva talks

WASHINGTON — It’s a rule of thumb in Middle East conflicts that whenever peace talks are announced, each side steps up the fighting so it can grab as much territory as possible before the cease-fire lines are drawn.

May 23, 2013 12:05 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Ways of Washington on display in official email

WASHINGTON — The hundred pages of Benghazi emails released last week tell us almost nothing about how four Americans came to die so tragically in that Libyan city. But they are a case study in why nothing works in Washington.

May 21, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

David Ignatius: Stopping domestic terrorists within surveillance limits

WASHINGTON -- America's top intelligence official said Thursday there isn't any evidence so far that the Boston Marathon bombers had help from foreign terrorist networks.

May 05, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

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